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Brad Furie, iQuoteXpress

Digital transformation extends to RFP responses

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As a Microsoft customer or partner, you're likely neck-deep in digital transformation efforts: moving just about everything to Azure; increasing adoption and usage of Dynamics CE and other business-critical tech; and improving data collection, analysis, and usability across the enterprise.

And at the front line of any enterprise is where a business meets its public, its clients, the people it provides products and services for.

As a Dynamics user, how are you digitally transforming critical front-line interactions with prospects and customers as you move them from interested to invested?

As a Dynamics partner, how are you equipping your customers with the right "digitally transforming" tools to attract new prospects and better serve existing customers?

In our opinion, digital transformation has to be happening at the earliest, and most critical, interaction between any business and its current or future customers: the RFP response.

Digitally transforming RFP responses

The good news is that if you're using Dynamics CE to track prospect and customer engagement, you're already half-way there. Where many businesses go off the rails, digitally speaking, is in RFP responses.

They'll attract a prospect with campaigns generated in Marketo or a similar marketing automation solution. They'll track interactions in Dynamics CE so that anyone can see exactly when a prospect or customer is ripe for a proposal. They'll make this information available via BI dashboards. All good — digital transformation is fully on track.

Then, they'll make an RFP response in Word or Excel and derail the whole digital train.

But there's a simple way to extend your CRM and ERP systems to ensure that your sales proposals are 100% on board for digital transformation: configure, price, quote (CPQ).

By adding CPQ to Dynamics CE, you ensure that your sales proposals are more effective, more completely tracked, and entirely integrated into your digitally transformed business operations.

Making every interaction count (and accounted for)

Essential in digitally transforming a business are processes and that are scalable and repeatable. With CPQ, this means sales proposals that can be used across the enterprise and easily optimized.

Most CPQ systems that work with Dynamics should include dozens (if not hundreds) of professionally designed, easy-to-customize sales proposal templates, making it faster and easier to create and send quotes.

Bonus: a high quality look/feel to every RFP response you send is better for both engaging your customers and building your brand. There's one maxim in every interaction (be it in business or elsewhere) that has been proven true time and again: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

If your proposal is as ho-hum as a Word document, your prospect will take note and rightfully assume the products and services you provide are ho-hum as well.

Additionally, a single sign-on sales proposal automation solution for Dynamics will offer granular tracking of a sales quote. Dynamics and other CRM systems typically offer standard quote tracking: was it sent? was it signed? business won? business lost? That's a good start.

But a CPQ system goes deeper, tracking every interaction along the way: all replies, all updates, all interactions. A sales manager may easily spot bottlenecks in the closing process and — if necessary — jump in to further a sale. Or a manager may identify that sales rep A has a closing rate higher than her colleagues' and replicate her processes across the team.

In the end...

Digital transformation is about having the right technology at every step of the process. But in the end it's about motivating people to in fact use that technology. And when you add CPQ to the mix, you contribute to digital transformation of what may be the most motivating step in any business relationship: that moment when a prospect becomes a customer.

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